My First Day Living Sustainably

ImageIt’s been less than a year since I quit my job in Orlando and moved to Miami with a long-shot lead on a job in the solar industry.

Today, July 16, 2013, I am making a living as a Solar Salesman in Jacksonville, living in a rental home my parents own, where I have just installed a Solar Hot Water Heater and a NEST Smart Thermostat.

The Solar Hot Water Heater uses a 4×10 Copper Plated Collector to generate heated water without using electricity. The installation runs water to the roof where it is heated to more than 135 degrees using the sun’s natural captured heat. This “carbon-free” heated water is then stored in an 80 gallon reserve until it is replenished the next day.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency heating water accounts for 25% of a home’s electrical use. My electric bills at my former condo ranged from $75 to $85. My first month in the new house, before installing efficiency measures incurred an electric bill of $110 in June.

Besides a Solar Hot Water Heater I have also installed a NEST Learning Thermostat. This programable thermostat records your temperature selections to balance your comfort level with automatic energy saving measures such as auto-away, when it shuts the AC off after its motion detectors sense the house is vacant.

The NEST thermostat has some other nifty energy saving features, including automatic filter change reminders, smart phone remote control integration, energy use history and a smart-fan feature. This perk let’s the thermostat shut down the air conditioner earlier than typical systems. The feature will keep the fan running over the already-cooled coils to provide the same cooling results without the energy demands of the compressor.

NEST advertises 14 to 22% savings on your electric bill after installing the device. Air Conditioning composes 48% of your home’s electricity use, so their claims appear to be grounded in reality. Now I will have a chance to test them and see.

With the combination of the NEST and the Solar Hot Water Heater I should see about a 39% reduction in my energy use. If my bill is likely to be around $110 in this home my monthly dollar savings should be an approximately $42.90.

Total installation cost through Sunworks Solar, the company I work for, is typically around $7,000. A 30% tax credit home owners benefit from for installing renewable energy systems before 2016 brings the net investment to $4,900. I paid cash, but if you’d like to finance you can have the same system installed at your home for $35.11 per month. That’s an instant savings of 18% off your current electric bill.

ImageThe addition of solar helps your home sell faster and increases its value. What’s even better is that a solar improvement becomes more valuable to you over time rather than depreciating.

This is because the cost of energy doubles every 10 to 12 years. So while today my system will offset about $43 per month, in 2023 my system will likely be offsetting $86 per month!

If you can wipe out nearly half of your electric bill for about $35 per month, why wouldn’t you go solar? Stay tuned for my energy saving results over the next few months.

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